North Wiltshire has recorded the third highest number of constituents on the free ‘democratic access’ tours offered to show people around Parliament and learn about the history of the Palace of Westminster.

746 constituents from North Wiltshire came to visit Parliament on this free tour in 2019. Only Cities of London and Westminster and East Ham had more with 801 and 750 respectively.

James Gray MP welcomed this news and stated:

“I was delighted to hear this news and to see that we were top of the non-London seats. I greatly enjoy welcoming my constituents to Parliament and enabling them to learn more about the Palace of Westminster. The tour guides are extremely well informed and offer a great insight into the workings and history of this wonderful building. I hope that when the current crisis passes and they reopen for visits, we will be able to welcome many more people to the Houses of Parliament.” 

 

 

On the advice of officials I have decided to stop holding face-to-face advice surgeries to try to contain the spread of COVID-19. I will, however, still be very much available to assist with any constituency concerns or queries. Simply fill in the ‘Contact James’ form on this website, or send me an email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  detailing the issue and I will deal with it in much the same way as during an advice surgery.

Please click on the following useful link for the most up to date guidance and advice from Wiltshire Council about COVID-19: http://www.wiltshire.gov.uk/public-health-coronavirus

The Nation is stunned this morning by the news that the PM has been moved into an Intensive Care Unit bed in St Thomas’s Hospital. We should be clear. ICU beds are in very short supply, and you don’t get one unless you are seriously ill. He has been given Oxygen, but so far as we know at this stage he is not on ventilation.

This is serious news on a whole variety of levels. It will be deeply unpleasant for Boris himself. It will of course be desperately worrying for his family. We think especially of Carrie who has had symptoms herself, and who is of course expecting their child. What a terrible time for them all.

It’s a worry for the Nation too. We know that he is but ‘First Amongst Equals’; but he is a powerful figurehead. It is he who takes the ultimate decisions and gives direction and energy to the government- both Ministers and civil servants. He is the strong man to whom the whole government looks. I am sure that Dominic Raab, Michael Gove, Rishi Sunak and the whole team will carry on doing a great job. And the Government has been split into four ‘cells’ exactly so that it can be guaranteed to continue no matter what happens to any individual. So I have absolutely no worries whatsoever that the Government of Britain will plough ahead fighting this terrible virus no matter what happens at the top of it. (And never forget that Churchill was critically ill for part of the Second World War.)

Boris has had a turbulent 12 months. This time last year he was a backbencher with his career behind him. Since then he went through the bruising leadership battle; won a magnificent victory in the General Election; carried out his promise to ‘Get Brexit Done’ and established a strong and dynamic government pressing ahead with a wide variety of novel policies. To be struck down in this way is ironic after a most powerful and successful year. But perhaps the two are not unconnected. I know Boris very well. (Inter alia I was his first whip when elected in 2001). And I know of his massive personal energy and dynamism. He is a workaholic, and can well be argued to have sacrificed his own health in support of the Nation.

So no matter what your political opinions; no matter what your personal view of Boris Johnson, I know that you will join with me and the whole Nation in wishing him God speed to a full recovery to his robust best health.

Get well soon, Boris. We are all with you.

James Gray has added his name to a joint letter from MPs in Wiltshire and Swindon, to The Rt Hon Priti Patel, the Home Secretary, to call for a review of the Police Funding Formula.

The letter raises the concerns of the MPs, who feel that the challenges of modern day policing in Wiltshire are not reflected in the Police Funding Formula. Wiltshire has the lowest number of officers per head of population of any force across the country, and therefore the MPs have stressed the need for adequate resources to enable Wiltshire Police to meet these demands.

Mr Gray said that:

“Police demand is changing and becoming increasingly complex. It is therefore extremely important that PCCs have the necessary funding to keep communities safe. I certainly welcome the fact that the Government has proposed a total settlement for the police of up to £15.2 billion in 2020-21, however we must ensure that this funding is fairly allocated and that Wiltshire Police receive the funding they need.

Our police forces do a wonderful job, but we need to ensure they are supported and that they can continue to provide a high level of service. I hope that the Home Office will listen to our concerns and review the funding formula.”